Beer Wednesday: Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Aaron and I sat down to do a tasting of the Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA by Stone, and here is the chat we had about this very interesting beer:

Royce: Okay, I have a glass
smells great
Aaron: based on the pour and the color, I have a hard time believing this could be an IPA of any sorts
Stone's 15th Anniversary Black IPA
looks entirely like a black ale/stout/porter from color and head
Royce: Yeah, color-wise
smell it though… very hoppy
from the smell, I'd have a hard time believing it’s NOT an IPA, if I closed my eyes
Aaron: either my nose is still a little stuffed from a cold two weeks ago or this has a relatively mild smell
Royce: Hmm, I’m a little stuffy too, but i would say it has a strong hoppy smell – it’s piney
Aaron: going in deep...
strangely, it smells like a cold refreshing beer
Royce: I could see that
Aaron: neutral in terms of the type of beer
Royce: maybe I’m more sensitive to hops than you
Aaron: those were the words that came to mind
Royce: Haha, you've seen too many Super Bowl beer commercials
Aaron: I just walked back into the kitchen to get the bottle out of the fridge to smell that, and the same thing
Royce: Really
Aaron: yeah, right after "cold" and "refreshing" my next thought was that I felt a little too much like Herm Edwards
I did use the phrase "Super Cold" twice at the Super Bowl party yesterday
tip for you over-21 youngin's out there... it is significantly easier to chug a Super Cold Coors Lite than a New Belgium Winter Ale
Royce: 100% factual
Light beers are the favorites in college for a reason: they’re cheap and you can drink them like they're water
Aaron: tasting...
Royce: Same
Aaron: intriguing
really, REALLY smooth
just like you'd expect from a stout or porter
but tons of hoppy pale ale, IPA flavors
Royce: Way smoother than I would have thought, love the flavors
Aaron: minimal carbonation?
Royce: There is a little bit of bitter bite
Yeah not super carbonated
Aaron: the thought that comes to mind is a really flat Coke
not 100% flat, but mostly flat
Royce: But not flat soda by any means
No no, it's not flat
Just... Open for a while too long
Aaron: still kind of thick
yeah, not flat… thick or full come to mind
Royce: Okay so I love the kick of the hops like an IPA, and I love the smoothness and depth of flavor like it’s a stout or something
Aaron: i wanted to say that I haven't had enough stouts or porters to compare it to, but I haven't had a Coke in years, so I don't know where that comparison came from
depth of flavor, i like that
definitely filling… i need to slow down a little
Royce: I was just about to say... But - I do not know if I want to drink more than one glass
Aaron: well, I'm definitely going to suck it up and finish the 22
Royce: The flavor is awesome, but it’s intense
Aaron: not just the flavor, the whole beer is intense
can't leave that open in my fridge for another day
Royce: Ya then it would taste even more flat
Aaron: this beer doesn't deserve to be a wounded soldier
Royce: I love this beer
Is it hoppy enough for you?
Aaron: definitely
does it come off as an IPA to you?
I really wish we could get the El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale again - and compare them side by side
Royce: Ha I know
It comes off as a good mix of IPA and black ale, I'd say
I feel like I've had a black IPA before, but I can't think of what it was
[note: it was the Hop in the Dark 'Cascade Dark Ale' by Deschutes Brewing
But this definitely is the best beer in the style I've had
Aaron: the more I drink it the more like a porter it tastes
and the ABV is hitting me a little
do you have the bottle next to you?
Royce: Not as good as the El Camino, but that is really its own style
Not at the moment, why
Aaron: I was just curious about the ABV
I could go look it up, but that can wait
it's Stone, so I'm confident it's plenty high
I agree that it's not as good as the El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale
that felt like an impressive collaboration
this feels confusing
I like it. A LOT.
but I am vexed
and you know how I don't like to be vexed
Royce: I believe it is 10.8% abv
Aaron: really? Wow. That is higher than I expected
I guess I could probably continue to sit here at the computer and look it up.
Royce: Ha, it vexes you in what way?
Aaron: apparently we are drinking the Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA
Royce: Lol yes, yes we are
Aaron: 10.8% looks to be correct
and feels about right also
apparently called it Craft Beer Porn
that is a much better phrase than anything I would have thought to use
but (going down the rabbit hole) if I was comparing it to porn, it would be a two guy, one girl threesome
it's a threesome, which in general is awesome
but if you're one of the guys, how do you feel about the other guy in the threesome
Royce: Wow, this just went way off the rails
Aaron: not necessarily bad
but maybe slightly vexed
and I'm back
Royce: Things got outta hand quickly
Aaron: you can edit that out if you want
Royce: Brick killed a guy
Aaron: huh?
Royce: [Nope, it stayed]
Anchorman reference
Aaron: oh, Anchorman
I knew that
but Brick confused me
Royce: Anyway I could see what you are saying... There is a lot going on but most of it is good
Aaron: yeah, you might want to lay low for a while
Royce: But the fact that so much is going on makes it a little overwhelming to drink too much, in my opinion
Aaron: definitely agree
Royce: This 22oz would be ideal for sharing with 1 or 2 other beer fans
Aaron: I can see it being difficult to finish a 22
Royce: Wow I just inadvertently made a threesome comment.
Aaron: This is also a beer that you don't just pull out of the fridge and crack open whenever
Royce: Yeah I agree with that
Aaron: which is surprising
this is a beer that you need to prepare for
you need to plan things out in advance
no rings at all around the glass
ok, I finished the first 14-16 oz, gonna go pour the rest and get a snack
Royce: Ok, well done sir
I love this beer
Final thought: Who would you recommend this to
Aaron: honestly, I don't know
not very many people
They have to really love craft beers and microbrews
definitely not for someone who has a casual relationship with beer
Royce: Yeah, I would say any craft beer fan should definitely try this
You know I love interesting and unique styles, and this is both interesting and unique
Aaron: I feel like this is a ski resort with 90% black diamond runs
Aaron: you're only going to recommend it to an advanced skier/snowboarder, but that person it going to absolutely love it
Royce: I like that analogy
Great point
Aaron: I'm glad I have a second bottle in the fridge
but I now know I need to plan out my evening better
Royce: I need to go get another bottle from BevMo
Aaron: wow, i feel like it's late and I'm laboring to finish this beer
this might be the ultimate non-chugging beer
despite how smooth it is
Royce: Oh I have had much, much less drinkable or chuggable beers than this
But it’s probably not a beer you should solo – that is not recommended


  1. Great job Royce. You even got all the links I had in mind at the time.

  2. It did take me slightly longer than I wanted to edit it because I wanted to get all the links right.

    Have you ever had the Hop in the Dark by Deschutes? You can find 22oz bottles in BevMo and other stores sometimes. Or have you had the more recent 'More Brown than Black' IPA from the Stone Collaboration series?

  3. Cool article by Forbes: the Ten American Breweries Worth a Visit. I have been to numbers 4, 5, and 6 and I can say that they were absolutely awesome.